Recently I've been talking about my dog Max and his aging process. The trials and tribulations we have been going through are foremost on my mind, as each day with Max reminds me that he is aging and no longer the vivacious, gnarly 4 year old dude who joined our family so many years ago.
In response, many folx have started sharing their stories about life with their own aging animals. Not only the daily experiences they are having, but the feels they have around those experiences.
It Got Me To Thinking
It's a fact of life that as my boys are aging, my mind sometimes leaps ahead to the end of our days together. Not so much with Raven - Raven is still flying around the house with the greatest of ease, but with Max. I so much love and enjoy him and relish our time together, but I also know that I need to begin to prepare myself for his final days.
By preparing myself now, I can help his final days and transition be as comfortable and easy as possible for him when the time comes.
Over the years I've run into a few expressions of grief that have stuck with me. One is "I wished the Rainbow Bridge had visiting hours", another is “I don’t believe there will be a reunion with my pets anymore than I will meet the angry cows I have consumed or the spiders I have squished. I wish I could stretch my heavenly conceits this way, because I can see the comfort in that imagery" and "I couldn't ask for your help at a time like this, I don't want to impose".
I understand where those comments are coming from, the grief and loneliness that is behind them. The weight behind those spoken words is tremendous and difficult, impossible to bear alone. Yet that is exactly what culture, society and sometimes even friends and family expect us to do!
We’re not meant to be lone rangers.
It makes me want to have a chat with those folx, offer them a huge cuppa tea and a big hug, because those feelings of loss and desolation are real and they're painful. Very painful. It's not my place (or anyone else's, for that matter) to 'fix it' for them, or try to make it 'go away' or try to make them feel better. What I would want is to simply be with them as they are experiencing those feelings. So they know they're not alone and they have someone to witness this journey and what it means.
Because we’re not meant to be lone rangers.
I realize we all hold different cosomologies and have different perspectives on what happens after death. These are created and influenced by our ancestors as well as the religious, societal, cultural, educational and familial systems to which we belong.
We all perceive our experiences as real, because that’s what we experience, so of course they're real to us. I would never try to dissuade someone from their cosmology because that is their life support, so to speak. What a thoughtless and uncaring action that would be!
But what I would like people to remember is that they don't need to go through those final days by themselves.
Aging, death, dying and grief were never meant to be solitary moments, contrary to what we are often taught or witness in life.
If you are getting ready to experience those final days with your animal pal or are already in the throes of them, remember you don't have to go solo. Set up a discovery call and let's see how I can help you.
BTW, if this post has spoken to you, you may find these posts helpful.
We're All In This Together,